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Monday, February 04, 2008

Obama's health care plan (and rhetoric) needs a tweak

Paul Krugman has taken Obama to task several times in recent weeks for holes in his health care plan. For some of the campaign rhetoric from the Obama camp, check out's recent post on an Obama health care mailer.

Krugman's criticism is tough love, since it addresses a couple shortcomings in the Obama plan: the issue of free riding and enforcement. Basically, if healthy people opt to not have insurance until they get sick, they get a "free ride." To make health care more economical, you make them sign up. Which takes enforcement. Obama's been criticizing Hillary for having an enforcement provision, but you really can't go universal without it. go with my idea. Which is that people are automatically signed up for health insurance on the government employee's plan unless they opt out. And you can only opt out if you have other health care coverage. You can opt for a monthly premium payment or just pay it from your taxes. In other words, leave the enforcement to people who already do it (the IRS) and the health care to an existing health care group (government employees).

And Obama, get your wonks and rhetoric around free riders and enforcement. Because we can't solve the health care problem without addressing both.

Disclosure: I'm supporting Obama on Super Tuesday.

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